Three federal prison officers were arrested on Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting inmates in a New York City facility.
Carlos Richard Martinez, Eugenio Perez and Armando Moronta are accused of sexually assaulting several female inmates. The three work at the Metropolitan Detention Center in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, ABC7 reported.
Martinez and Perez are lieutenants with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and were arrested while at work. Martinez is charged with five counts of deprivation of civil rights, five counts of aggravated sexual abuse, five counts of sexual abuse and five counts of sexual abuse of a ward. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted.
Perez is charged with multiple counts of deprivation of civil rights, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a ward and abusive sexual contact involving five victims, and he faces up to life in prison as well.
Moronta was arrested at home; he was out on bail and suspended from work after a January arrest for allegedly taking bribes to smuggle contraband, including the synthetic cannabinoid K2, into the facility, according to Newsday. He faces four counts of sexual abuse involving three women, and he faces up to 15 years in prison on each count.
At least one is accused of threatening women with solitary confinement, ABC7 reported.
Martinez was in charge of teaching staff how to identify and stop sexual harassment and abuse, according to reports. He educated prison staff about the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA. Martinez reportedly posted a photo of himself and another prison employee on Facebook. The caption read, "It's only PREA when you don't like it."
Martinez, a former Marine, is accused of forcibly raping a female inmate in December 2015, causing her to bleed from her genitals. Prosecutors said he targeted a petite female inmate who spoke limited English and raped her 10 times between December 2015 and April 2016, the New York Daily News reported.
According to ABC7, the complaint reads in part: "Put simply, the defendant used his superior position, authority and strength to overpower and rape Jane Doe, a petite female prisoner under his control and care. The defendant did not use a condom when he raped Jane Doe, leaving her terrified that, among other things, she would get pregnant. The defendant assured Jane Doe that she would not get pregnant because he had undergone a vasectomy, rendering him incapable of impregnating others."
Martinez has a history of violence against women, prosecutors said. In 2016, he was arrested after smashing the car window belonging to a woman who cut him off in Manhattan, according to reports. He yelled at her to get out of her car and when she did, he allegedly punched her twice in the face. Martinez pleaded guilty in February to disorderly conduct.
Perez was also involved in educating staff about PREA, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
In September 2016, Perez allegedly inappropriately touched one inmate while another performed a sex act on him after he let them out of isolation in exchange for extra cleaning duty.
According to ABC7, the complaint reads in part: "The defendant warned Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, in substance and in part, not to tell anyone what had transpired and that, if they did, they would ‘be sorry’ and no one would believe them because he was a lieutenant. The following morning, the defendant returned to Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2's unit. Jane Doe #2 encountered the defendant in the hallway outside the unit, whereupon the defendant asked her, in substance and in part, if she ‘want(ed) some more’ and again admonished her not to say anything."
Moronto is accused of ordering food for himself and two inmates, taking them into the unit office to eat and then calling them back later that night. The complaint alleges that he forced one inmate to perform a sex act on him while the other acted as a lookout.
The three officers are expected to appear in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn sometime Thursday, NBC4 reported.
The Brooklyn MDC houses both males and females — just over 1,900 in total — in varying degrees of security, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The facility's last audit under the Prison Rape Elimination Act was conducted in September 2014. The audit found that the facility met or exceeded all federal legal standards for preventing sexual abuse.